Monday, February 25, 2008
Times New Viking--Rip It Off (2008)
Artist-Times New Viking
Album-Rip It Off
Release Date-Jan 22, 2008
Review-Times New Viking aren't for the faint of ear. The trio from Ohio has no time for subtle recording tricks like EQ, proper levels, or fidelity. No doubt their recording budget hovered around the low two figures with most of that going toward beverages. The resulting album is a 30-minute blast of over-driven organ, squawking guitars, rattling drums, and pushed-to-distortion vocals that sound painful when played loud, and like a far-off hum when played quietly. Despite all this, Rip It Off is an incredibly good record. Maybe because of it, even. Beneath all the noise are songs with pretty melodies, huge hooks, and singalong choruses. Take the fuzz off of "Drop-Out" and you have a TV commercial, clean up "Another Day" and you have a girl group classic, fix the levels on "Off the Wall" and you have (possibly) a sweet love song. There is most definitely a pop band at the bottom of that layer of hissing sludge. Not that we're talking about an Archies record here, there is plenty of raw emotion on display ("Rip Allegory," "The Apt."), songs that have some complexity in their structure and delivery ("Relevant: Now"), and a huge dose of art, from the typewritten text on the cover down to the unique use of punctuation in the song titles. People might compare them to bands of the lo-fi era like Eric's Trip or early Smog, and those are good comparisons. Better yet would be to compare them to the lo-fi pioneers from New Zealand like the Clean or the Tall Dwarfs, or any band whose technical limitations (imposed through necessity or by choice) never got in the way of delivering a good song. Rip It Off is overloaded with good songs and provided you don't let silly things like clean sound get in the way of enjoying good songs, you might find yourself infatuated with Times New Viking.